from El Pueblo
Aug. 28, 2007:
Following the failure of federal immigration reform, we have seen many manifestations of desperation due to the lack of a comprehensive solution to the immigration issue. Federal enforcement agencies were waiting to see what was going to be offered by Congress; now The Department of Homeland Security and federal authorities have announced that they are going to increase immigration enforcement efforts through an escalation of raids. This is what happened in one of our North Carolina communities last week:
As a targeted enforcement operation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided homes in Shannon, St. Pauls, Rennert, Lumberton, Hope Mills and Raeford, as well as Smithfield Packing Co. in Tar Heel, looking for individuals suspected of committing identity theft. Richard Rocha, a spokesman for ICE, said that there were 28 individuals taken into custody, mostly Mexican nationals, 13 women and 15 men. The raids started around 3:40 am through 5 am, when ICE agents went to suspects' residences, and relentlessly knocked on people's doors. Many were already on their way to work; others woke up to their trailers shaking due to the intensity of the knocking by ICE agents. Many of these individuals were taken into custody in the presence of their children, and were quickly asked to decide who they wanted to leave their children with, forcing them to leave them with neighbors and babysitters in order to avoid the threat of being turned over to the Department of Social Services. These children, many of them American citizens, lived through the drama of having their parents ripped away from them as if they were criminals, crying without understanding why their families had to separate. One woman taken into custody was still breastfeeding her child, and another one is six months pregnant. Detainees were not fed for 24 hours, as most of the females were moved to Mecklenburg County detention facilities, and men were transferred to Alamance County.
Standing in solidarity with these families who are victims of the broken immigration system and in partnership with the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights' Day of Action, we have suggestions on what YOU CAN DO TO HELP.
1. Donate money to help the families affected by the raid
Several months ago, local clergy and Interfaith Worker Justiceestablished the "Smithfield Worker Justice Fund" to help Smithfieldworkers and their families during times of crisis, wrongful termination,or disability. We are trying to raise $15,000 for this fund in the nextfew weeks to help Smithfield families that are in need. We are askingchurches and individuals to write a check to support the fund. Allproceeds will go directly to Smithfield families in need.
To help, please send a check for any amount to:Interfaith Worker Justice - Smithfield Worker Justice Fund1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., 4th Fl.Chicago, IL 60660
Contribute online through a secure server athttps://www.chi-cash-advance.com/sforms/Appeal457/contribute.asp
2. Contact your Senators and Representatives and tell them:
"Enforcement measures do not replace inaction regarding Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Stop separating families and conducting traumatizing raids in our communities"
Click here to find your representative's contact information
3. Stay Informed, and help to raise awareness
Injustices surrounding the immigrant community are not widely published, and it is important to let the public know what is going on in our communities. Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper condemning the inaction of our leaders, and exposing the suffering of our immigrant families.
Suggestions of some of the arguments you can include in the Letter to the Editor:
Detention destroys families and communities: Children are separated from their parents, husbands from wives, making it very difficult for them to cope financially and emotionally.
Raids create fear in our immigrant communities: The fear of facing detention and deportation makes many immigrants hesitate to contact law enforcement to cooperate or report crimes. These views trickle-down to children who are U.S citizens and thus will grow up in a culture of distrust towards law enforcement officials.
Inadequate Use of Tax Dollars and Erosion of State Rights: Tax dollars funneled to increased local enforcement officials activities of enforcing federal law, along with the cost of building detention centers, are dollars that are not spent addressing the real source of the issues facing America today.
Intimidation through Raids and Deportations do not replace inaction: Our leaders failed to come up with a federal solution to the immigration issue, so now they have stepped up enforcement operations. Those operations are not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform. The real source needs to be addressed.
Click here find the contact information of media and press in your area.
4. Smithfield Action
The Smithfield Justice Campaign will be protesting outside the Smithfield's Foods Annual Shareholders Meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia. To learn how you can participate click here .
5. Statewide Collaboration
El Pueblo will continue to stand in solidarity with the families affected by the raid, as well as support local organizations, such as the Eastern North Carolina Workers Center, that are trying to do everything in their power to assist their local communities. El Pueblo will also continue to work in partnership with advocates in the statewide level to increase the level of preparedness for emergency situations such as the raids that occurred last week. You can read more about how to prepare for Raids and Deportation by clicking here.
SEPT 29: National March on Washington
SEPT 22-29: Encampment in Front of Congress to STOP the War -
Parallel Encampment and Demo in Los Angeles
70 Organizing Centers in 32 States - 100 buses -
find one near you!
Stop the War at Home and Abroad!
Troops Out Now!
Impeach Bush & Cheney for War Crimes!
End All Occupations -- from Iraq to Palestine to Haiti to the Philippines!
Same Struggle Same Fight!
Let's act in unity with many movements and struggles raising demands including:
* No War against Iran
* End all occupations now - from Iraq to Palestine, the Philippines, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Afghanistan
* Support The Right to Return - from Palestine to New Orleans
* No to U.S. intervention - Hands off Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, Zimbabwe, and the Sudan
* Stop the raids against immigrant workers -- Full rights for undocumented workers<
* Justice for Katrina survivors - End racist police terror - Stop the war against Muslims
* Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, the Cuban Five, and all political prisoners
* Money for health care, jobs and education, not endless war
For details, flyers, buses, to volunteer & more see http://www.troopsoutnow.org/.
Action Center For Justice